Biochemical methane potential (BMP) and anaerobic toxicity assay (ATA) The methane potential of wastewater is related to COD and the treatment efficiency. The maximum theoretical yield of methane for carbohydrates is 0.35 L CHt/g COD removed at standard temperature and pressure (Droste, 1997). The maximum methane potential of wastewater may not be realized in a treatment process for reasons such as the refractory nature of some of the organics.
The BMP test is a procedure developed to determine the methane yield of an organic material during anaerobic decomposition by mixed microbial flora in a defined medium. This test, analogous to the biological oxygen demand (BOD) test, provides a simple means of monitoring the relative biodegradability of substrates using a serum bottle. The protocol for this assay was designed to ensure that the degradation of the compound is not limited by nutrients, inoculum, substrate toxicity, pH, oxygen toxicity or substrate overloading (Owen et al., 1979; Speece, 1996). The procedure is readily modified to become a toxicity assay. The ATA uses the same procedure as for BMP except that an acetate-propionate spike is added to a serum bottle to provide a readily degradable substrate. Methane production from various sample concentrations is compared with gas production from a control to assess the toxicity of the sample (Owen et al., 1979; Owens and Chynoweth, 1993).
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